Pearl Street


I canít decide how much to give the ragged woman
on the walking mall who mumbles
as a coin falls into her felt hat. She knew my name
last time but now, where she once sold candles,
thereís a pair of wolves. Weíd have no iron
in our blood without the death of stars, she says. She doesnít remember
lighting a taper late last year, pulling me close and whispering
itís not all yin. That light is still traveling. She sighs
and lights a cigarette. My voice has failed, I want
to follow her outstretched hand, enumerate the moons
of Jupiter. I canít breathe without losing
count, I canít even look right at what Iím trying
to find. Iím not afraid, itís that dead spot at the back
of my eyes. She throws her shawl on the snarling metal
heads, motions me off to watch a busker. You give him
a number, he tells you where you live.